History of Arctic Antiques
The Time-Honoured Heritage of the Mammoth Ivory Trade
- The Gouralnik family have supplied artisans with fossil mammoth ivory for over twenty years -
Arctic Antiques is a family affair
Since the mid-1990’s, when the founder, Mr Vladimir E. Gouralnik, was asked by a German artisan if he could supply natural Siberian mammoth ivory (Mammuthus primigenius), the family have been in the business of trading in this creamy-white gold. Gouralnik struck a gentleman’s agreement with the boutique manufacturer and it was the beginning of an adventure that took him from a luxury interior-design exhibition in Germany to the wilds of the Laptev Sea in Far Eastern Russia.
From this first deal, Vladimir E. Gouralnik became one of the first certified Siberian mammoth ivory traders in the European Union, and the foundation for what later emerged as Arctic Antiques GmbH was laid. For over 20 years the Gouralnik family has become one of the world’s most trusted traders of Mammuthus primigenius - more commonly known as the woolly mammoth - an ancient and extinct creature of the elephantid genus. Mammoth ivory is recovered from above the Arctic Circle in northern Siberia, and the tusks can range from 10,000 to 100,000 years old.
Today, Arctic Antiques is an expert in the rare material, and sources it from a network of various suppliers in Siberia, as well as managing the complex logistics and bureaucratic processes of trading such prized and precious artefacts.
Reliable Traders of Ethical Mammoth Ivory
Mammoth ivory has been used by humans to create objects of art such as jewellery, cutlery and weapons, for hundreds of years.
Not to be confused with illegal elephant ivory, Arctic Antiques are certified to supply ethical mammoth ivory to expert craftspeople and collectors. From distinguished fossil collectors, interior designers, knife-makers, jewellers, pen-turners, musical instrument makers, engravers, scrimshanders, watchmakers, gunsmiths, goldsmiths, and sculptors, the clients who are interested in acquiring this rare material are often rare themselves. Many of these time-honoured crafts are fading from the mainstream, and it is their highly specialized nature, paired with a truly rare material, that makes for a very niche cottage industry. This is what the Gouralniks value the most about their business – the imaginative use of the ivory, and the relentless passion for quality, drive the entrepreneurial spirit of the family.
Time Well Spent
Trading in a long-term investment like mammoth ivory requires the establishment of longstanding business relationships. Time moves differently when you are interested in the very highest form of luxurious mammoth ivory craftsmanship. Artisans, such as Arctic Antique’s customers, will wait for the right piece of ivory or bark to render their creative vision. Amongst many different product categories, Arctic Antiques supply white, fossilized mammoth ivory segments that are dried under controlled temperature conditions for at least five years.
After being recovered from the permafrost in Siberia, this process is necessary to achieve the creamy colour of pure, natural ivory. It might seem like an act of patience, but considering the thousands of years the mammoth ivory has lain in wait for the perfect craftsperson to transform it into a priceless and one-of-a-kind object … well, put like that, it seems like the blink of an eye.
In the hands of expert artisans, mammoth ivory can be turned into something that will be treasured for generations. The Gouralniks are happy and proud to be part of this process. Their work to bring the material to artists ensures that the echo of our natural history reverberates like a beautiful musical note, timelessly into the future.